I’m not perfect

News flash: I’m a little messed up, a little broken, a little crazy, and a little muddled.

I make mistakes.

I piss people off at times.

But I try to be the best person I can be when I’m able.

People believe what they want to, but unless you’ve had first hand experience, or been part of a situation, you have no idea what has transpired between two people.

The insecure will cling to the worst possible scenario and spread their negativity. The strong will keep their mouth shut and take the high road. I’m trying so hard to take that high road but I get so furious when the insecure try to make something so simple and positive into something ugly and unkind.

Deep breath.

I’m not perfect. I’m just…me.

The little girl in me…

So upon the advice of my therapist, or myself, I’m listening to my little girl self. She wants a birthday party. She wants it to be just for her. She wants a special theme and activities and decorations. She wants to pick it all out and see all her friends come together to have fun.

So that’s what I’m doing! I’m throwing myself a good old fashioned birthday party!

With a winter birthday, we always went sledding. It was fun, but it wasn’t what the other kids were doing…and my mom did the best she could, but we didn’t have a lot of money for stuff like decorations or party favors when we were little…and being a twin, it was always both our friends, and I had to share the attention. Is it too much to ask for it to be about me just this once?

Now mind you, my mom always made us each our own birthday cakes: chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting for me and strawberry jello cake with cool whip for my sister.

Oddly, I asked for chocolate chip that year, but also, the wrong cakes are in front of us!

We always got to choose our own friends, and it wasn’t so bad. But even at an early age, I was aching to just be celebrated independently of my sister, especially because she had a powerful personality. I was quick to be the quiet one. Well, I hear that as an infant, I was the loud one, but somewhere along the way, that changed…not sure when why or how…

Anyway, I can’t wait to celebrate my birthday with friends! It’ll be unicorn themed with a piñata and musical chairs, decorations and balloons! I’ll let you know how it goes!

And on a side note, when I was 6 years old, I wanted a horse for my birthday. Our wonderful neighbor dressed up as a horse for me…my fondest birthday memory from my childhood❤️

She’s using my skills against me…and it’s so dang helpful

Once again my talented therapist is surprising me with her insight and skillfulness. I’ve been having some repetitive thoughts and trying to make them stop only makes them worse. She ever so carefully steered me into how to get to the root of those thoughts without my awareness, with no pressure, and an ease that allowed for openness.

So here it is…her magical approach:

If a child in your care was having a tough time letting go of some feelings, how would you help that child move through it?

So simple. First I would listen to the child, because after all, every child wants to feel heard. I would then observe the child’s behavior to look for non-verbal communication. Children’s behavior is a such an enlightening form of expression and communication. Next, I would find activities or roles based on my observations that I could offer to empower the child and build on that child’s strengths, ultimately meeting the unmet needs.

Damn she’s good. She got me so focused on the child that popped into my mind that I forgot I was talking about myself! But here comes the tough part, right? Looking at myself as the child instead of the teacher…well, she put me in my secure role as educator and so I carried that feeling with me as I dove in.

So here I am sitting there thinking that I have to listen to my young self. And that child says nothing. She is silent and trying to make herself small, trying not to cause any trouble or unwanted tension. She wants someone to notice her, to listen to her. She wants someone to ask her what she thinks, and she wants to be listened to when she answers. She wants others to want her. She wants others to accept her. She wants others to feel comfortable with her. She wants to be seen for who she is becoming, and she wants to cheer on the others who are becoming…

Here I go…

  • Writing my blog helps me feel heard and I love that others find inspiration in my words and thoughts. (Keep it up!)
  • I’ll never be seen if I don’t let others have the opportunity to see me, so I am putting myself out there. (Be brave!)
  • I will keep becoming myself, and accept who I am, since my own acceptance is of paramount importance.
  • I will keep working toward being comfortable with myself and the comfort of others will come on it’s own (right?)
  • And finally, I will begin to let go of the fear…fear of rejection, loss, fear that I will never again find the connections like those I’ve had in my life.

Wish me luck…it’ll be a process, a trial of sorts with some backslides and failures, but I’ll get there.

So Much Fun!

In my quest to feel more like a woman and less like mom, wife, cook, house cleaner…I took a risk. A friend posted that a local company was looking for a fit model for someone my size. Not knowing what this was, I looked it up. You try on clothes and let designers know what you think. Sounds easy enough but I was so nervous! I didn’t even go try on wedding dresses in public, I ordered from a catalog and tried them on at home.

Lucky for me, the first fit model gig I got was at home. They sent me a giant box of pajamas and bathrobes (perfect for me on all accounts). I tried all of them on, took notes, then sent the jammies through the wash and did it all again. I sent my notes back to the company and got to keep the pjs! They appreciated my honest feedback and my next gig is in their warehouse! With people around, designers no less! I’m excited about it, but so nervous!

But this job as a fit model is definitely getting me rolling on my goal to be less mom and more me! It’s nice to be appreciated for my opinion, and also to know that I have a specific and unique value to someone, even if it’s a paid job, it matters.

Witnessing vulnerability…

This morning I had the distinct privilege of watching two women lift each other up. It was really wonderful and such a simple, but powerful, moment.

Two women with kids close in age, playing same sports, both experiencing similar personal challenges…just casual acquaintances on Facebook. One posts lots of quotes/statements relating to her struggle and triumph, and the other comes over and says “thank you for what you post, I’m in a similar situation and I love reading your thoughts” (or similar to that effect). The response is a shared smile and subsequent conversation about how great it feels to reclaim our free will, our independence, our joy…we need to be who we are and have the support of each other!

A few specific things stuck out for me:

  • Both women took an emotional, social risk. BRAVO!
  • If we don’t lift each other up, then who will?
  • Sharing helps. Just sitting there watching the looks on their faces as I listened, I could see the effect.
  • You just never know what people are struggling with, so err on the side of kindness and compassion.

The Power of a Discovery

So this journey has allowed me to slow down and gain some perspective. I’ve forced myself to examine why and how I got to the point of ignoring my needs in favor of everyone else…and I was able to pinpoint the beginning of the unraveling:

When my sister in law died unexpectedly at the age of 36, I turned off the part of myself that allowed my needs to come through. My husband and his parents were wrecked, overwhelmed by their grief. I had to hold everything together, and be strong for them all. And for our son, who was 4 at the time, I had to be an anchor, a safe place with consistent responses and a predictable routine.

Therapy has been a critical part of this process, and it helped me realize that I had to start making my own needs a priority. Upon reflecting and really, just talking to my therapist, it just came out of my mouth…and it was like I’d been in a dark room, and suddenly the lights were on. My world had been illuminated and all kinds of clarity was revealed: when his sister died, I stopped being myself with my husband.

He’s the one person with whom I should be able to be myself. So that’s what I’m doing now…so far, so good.

Honoring Change…

I love this image…it makes me feel nostalgic for the time I was pregnant with my son…of course by this point, I was eating 2 cans of beefaroni a day and my hip kept popping out so I could hardly walk! I was 10 days overdue and had gained 20 pounds in my last 2 weeks! (And by the way, he didn’t turn till I was at 34 weeks! There was so little room for him to move, I had to lean on a tall counter and let gravity give him a little help!)

But as I write this, I’m also trying to honor a significant change in my life…here it comes:

About 9 months ago I became pregnant for the 8th time. And for the 7th time, I suffered a miscarriage. This triggered an already impending cultivation of a breakdown, unraveling, whatever you want to call it. After seeking therapy, finally, one of the pieces we focused on was seeing a doctor for my gynecological health. As a result, I am now using birth control (for a couple reasons).

This weekend would have been my due date. And though I’m almost 42 and couldn’t imagine having an infant come into my family now, I chose to get away for the weekend to face my mixed feelings.

You see, I’m facing the reality that I will never again be pregnant and never again miscarry. And though I’m sad, I’m okay. I am so lucky to have become a mom almost 14 (!) years ago. My kid is amazing, intelligent, talented, charismatic, intuitive…you get the idea! And while I wish I could’ve given him a sibling, the self proclaimed sole survivor of “the womb of doom” will be just fine.

So I choose to be grateful that I was able to bear a child (I dislike that expression so much), and nurse him and raise him to be a respectful and kind young man (yikes). I choose to remember my pregnancies as the losses they were, but also to remember what I learned about myself (and my husband) along the way. Each loss presented an obstacle but also an opportunity for growth.

So now I say goodbye to my “fertile” years and hello to my “taking care of me” years…because it’s been a long time coming…

This post is dedicated to all the moms out there who have lost babies, and to the babies I lost. I loved you all.